Leica cameras are expensive. So are the lenses.
For a Leica owner, these pricey optics hold a special appeal. Some Leica shooters appreciate the history and legacy of legendary lenses such as the 35mm Summilux or 50mm Noctilux. Others enjoy learning the unique characteristics of a particular lens and using that lens for a particular shooting situation where these characteristics make the images shine. For many decades, the measurable technical quality of Leica lenses remained unsurpassed.
In the film days, it was understood that if a Leica shooter wanted the best quality image possible, the only option was to use an authentic Leica lens. Modern computer technology has made it possible for other companies to produce lenses that rival or surpass Leica lenses in optical performance. Today, there are companies producing lenses that cost 10-20% of their Leica counterparts. The quality of these third-party lenses may be inferior, but when you factor in the price difference and consider how you will use the final images, this difference may not matter to you.
In this video, photographer Robin Schimko tests the quality and usability of the TTArtisan 28mm f/5.6 Lens for Leica M mount. This lens, which retails for just over $350, is a knockoff of the Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 lens, which retails for 10x higher than the imitation. Robin does not make a direct comparison between the lenses nor does he attempt a comprehensive assessment of this lens. Instead, he tests the TTArtisan lens as a tool for street photography on print film. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the video is seeing Robin’s point of view as he walks the streets of London looking for photographs to make. We see the visual noise in front of him and watch as he finds those fleeting moments worth preserving. For anyone who has walked the street with a camera and felt frustrated that there was nothing worth photographing, this insight into Robin’s shooting technique may be beneficial.
Check the video for a detailed report on Robin’s experience using the lens, including his thoughts on the aperture and focus rings.